‘The Rookie’ EP on What’s Next for Chenford — And Could the ‘Feds’ Catch Rosalind?

The Rookie - Eric Winter + Melissa O'Neil
Spoiler Alert
ABC/Raymond Liu

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Rookie‘s Season 5 Premiere, “Double Down.” So if you haven’t seen it yet, go hide in the bathroom with Dim and Jucy.] 

The Rookie just reported back for Season 5 duty and immediately gave the people what they wanted! And then possibly ripped it away again. In short: Long-flirty colleagues Lucy Chen (Melissa O’Neil) and Tim Bradford (Eric Winter) finally acknowledged it wasn’t just the L.A. heat between them during an undercover operation just as serial killer Rosalind Dyer (Annie Wersching) escaped custody on the way to trial. While thrown by the news that her former abductor was on the loose, Lucy powered through, eventually saving Tim after their undercover sting went sideways.

They eventually wound up back at her place and just as it looked like they were headed under covers of an even juicier kind, their hookup hit a snag with the discovery that Rosalind had left the body of Lucy’s beau Chris (Kanoa Goo) bleeding out on the couch. Let’s just say the mood wasn’t the only thing killed tonight. Seconds after watching the episode, we called up showrunner Alexi Hawley for an interrogation.

OK let’s just get to the Chenford stuff, because you walk a very, very thin line there of making them cheaters, How much discussion was there of “How close can we get them to this?” What happens at the very end is the only thing that stops them from going into a very gray area.

Alexi Hawley: Yeah. Yeah. I think so. I mean, look, you know…the way we left last season with the kiss? That was supposed to be perfunctory, but it really opened up a door that the audience has wanted us to open for a long time. It felt like we needed to play through that. Lucy tried to deny it in the hotel room talking about how it’s just a biological fact. With that kind of intimacy, if you don’t feel something, you’re dead. And yeah, there was that sort of suspended moment in time at the end where they almost did something, which will have very real percussions, given the cliffhanger and the Chris of it all.

Obviously, Lucy’s gonna feel incredibly guilty since, you know, Rosalyn targeted Chris because she didn’t testify and because she wasn’t playing Rosalyn’s game.  How could she not feel incredibly guilty and conflicted about that?

I thought she was gonna go after Bailey (Jenna Dewan).


Now, why have Tim be the one who brings up the potential feelings between them? He’s usually the one who’s more buttoned-up than the two.

Well, yes. Although he was the one who spoke to Lopez about it right at the beginning. He brings it up and she sees right through it. She’s like, “Why are we talking about this if it’s not a thing?” [Laughs] So what I love is that it is actually Tim who has been the most affected by it. And to have that moment in the plane where she’s like, “We’re supposed to be hooking up in here” and she just dives in there and messes him up…he’s a little stunned at the end. I thought that was really great. That was a little unexpected, but we know it’s real if Tim can’t deny it.

I need to applaud you for both not going the expected route when they heard that Rosalind escaped and for acknowledging how great they are at this undercover thing. They didn’t show their hand at all. No furtive glances or stammering. And when Tim says, “You’re really good at this,” I had already been thinking that they both were! 

Yeah. I mean, I thought that was such a great moment. When we were breaking the story, that was just such a great twist. What would it do to Lucy when she finds that out in the middle of an operation where she’s undercover that Rosalind has escaped? We go into a bit of a bubble on her as she’s processing it and that’s why Tim pulls her to the bathroom. Because he knows she’s on her heels a little bit. I just felt like a really great way to put them in jeopardy in the middle of an operation.

You also showed us the emotional shorthand that they have without having to signal one another.

Exactly. He just knows. And look, part of why the audience loves them together is that there is an understanding. As different as they are—and they are very different—there is a shorthand, there is a connection between them and that’s why they’re so good together.

How much is this gonna spin her out going forward? Because I know that she’s going to head into undercover training, correct?

Yeah, she’s done some and we are going to do a little bit more coming up. And you know, I do think that this is gonna spin her out. The fun of her undercover experience is that she has learned what she doesn’t know, you know? We’d sort of set her up when Harper took her under her wing back in Season 3. Just that realization that being an undercover cop, to be good at it takes a lot of training and a lot of work. It’s not easy. They actually have an undercover school that you go to, but it is, it’s hard to get in and you have to be invited and all that kind of stuff. And so we’re definitely gonna play that out a little bit more. And then yeah, she’ll totally be spun out. I mean, again, Chris was targeted because of her and that’s gonna have an impact.

And does this mean that Tim then goes back to his old relationship and tries to make it work while she’s working through stuff?

Well, look as he says in the episode,  he’s dating Ashley and Lucy’s dating Chris and that hasn’t changed, right? So, as you said, they got to the edge of doing something that was morally a problem, and yeah, they’ll have to look at that in the cold hard light of day.

The Rookie - Nathan Fillion

(ABC/Raymond Liu)

OK. And now John (Nathan Fillion)….is a Golden Ticket a thing?

It’s a real thing, yep. Obviously, you can’t choose to be the commissioner of police. But what you can choose is, there are all these different divisions and they will train you for whatever job you want. Which is why we have fun at roll-call with “Don’t be a detective, do this.” You know, “If you go into recruiting, they fly you all over the country,”  and “If you join K-9, you get a dog,” which is true and awesome. So yeah, we just had fun with the reality of that. You really can choose whatever path you want.

How long do you see Annie Wersching being able to stick around? You have positioned Rosalind as a great recurring villain and foil to the entire team. Now it’s not just John and Lucy.

Right, right.  There’s definitely an arc that we’ve designed with her out in the world. How that plays out, I don’t wanna give away where it ends, but we wanted to do that. We’re always looking for fresh storytelling, which gets harder [the longer you’re on]. But this just felt like something we hadn’t really done, that sort of “Rosalind on the loose, and are we gonna catch her? What’s she up to?” I love the never knowing from episode to episode if this is gonna be a Rosalind episode.

Have you ever thought of spinning her into The Rookie: Feds and bringing federal agents in to find her? Because she’s a female serial killer on the loose. She would be on their list.

I don’t wanna give anything away, but there is definitely a crossover of sorts that we are going to do, yes. Because that’s the fun, that’s The Rookie: Feds and they’re in L.A….so we can do that stuff. And so, we do everything from a one-scene crossover to full storyline crossovers.

The Rookie, Sundays, 10/9c, ABC.